It has been a long time, but the NASA sales team program is close to its first launch. SpaceX claims that it is currently planning the initial test flight of its Dragon Capsule with the crew next month. This comes after a series of failures, as both SpaceX and Boeing have faced the testing and review process that will eventually return the US pilots.
SpaceX confirmed last week that it has completed a static fire test on the Falcon 9 rocket that will launch the Dragon II capsule in orbit. In a static fire test (see the video below), the rocket remains connected to the tower so that it can not go anywhere while the engines are on. Next month the rocket will be free to shoot on the moon. Well, for the International Space Station (ISS).
The Dragon II Capsule (see above) is a modified version of the Dragon, which has flown unintentional cargo missions to the ISS over the past few years. However, NASA's testing and certification process is understandably much stricter than that of the freight contract. SpaceX has experienced several failures at the start, but pilots will include additional safety measures, such as a system to launch an abortion. Initially, NASA hesitated to allow astronauts aboard the spacecraft during the charging process, which is the preferred SpaceX process. However, the agency I repent after additional design reviews.
The test in February will cover all parts of the typical mission of the ISC to carry the crew back and forth. The mission, known as the SpX-DM1, will begin with a launch from the 39-A historic launch site at the Kennedy Space Center. Falcon 9's amp will release the second stage before returning to Earth (it's unclear whether SpaceX will try to land the booster).
The static fire test ended in February from the historic Launch Complex 39A for the first Crew Dragon demonstration flight! pic.twitter.com/sJF24U3UOM
– SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 25, 2019
The dragon capsule will be in orbit and will conduct automated docking with the ISS where it will stay for several weeks. Finally, it will come back into the atmosphere and burst into the ocean. SpaceX is working on mobility technology, but NASA will still not allow the company to use it for crew flights. The company plans to re-use this amp for a flight disruption test later on.
Initially, SpaceX was geared towards launching DM1 in December 2016. Delays repeatedly repeated the Commercial Crew program and time was up. NASA has only seats on board the Russian Soyuz Capsules, reserved by the end of the year. The Boeing CST-100 Starliner capsule is a bit slower due to the fuel leak that was discovered during the test last year. Boeing hopes his first demonstration flight will take place in March. The crew flights with the two vehicles could begin this summer.